I've been patiently waiting for things to get this clear...
OTTAWA - The Mounties say that from now on they will fire stun guns only when people are hurting someone or clearly about to do so.
Accused of overusing Tasers, the RCMP introduced new policies Tuesday to restrict their use to nipping violent confrontations in the bud. The revamped operational manual says officers should limit Taser use to incidents in which a person is "causing bodily harm" or will "imminently" lash out.
The directive mirrors a recommendation from former judge Thomas Braidwood, head of a B.C. public inquiry on Taser use prompted by the death of airline passenger Robert Dziekanski.
The new RCMP policy says that when possible, Mounties should warn suspects they are about to be zapped.
The policy continues to advise that multiple firings of the Taser may be hazardous. It also reinstates direction that officers must not use the stun gun for more than five seconds on a person and should avoid multiple stuns unless truly necessary.
It also calls for better records on Taser use and more testing to make sure the devices are operating correctly.
The RCMP watchdog, which has sharply criticized the force's stun-gun policies, welcomed the announcement as a "significant improvement." ... [LINK]
The next step will be to actually enforce this policy when it is violated (as it almost certainly will be, sooner or later).
By the way, "imminently" is a perfectly reasonable word choice (considering all sides of the argument). But the officers need to be advised that pure non-violent frustration can be expressed by "clenched fists" and what might be mistaken for an "aggressive stance". Tell the officers when they see such tell-tale signs to take a step backwards and inform the client that their body language might be mistaken for violent intent and to immediately knock it off.
This new RCMP Taser Use Policy is good.
All other police force in Canada are now left in the awkward position of either adopting this sort of Taser Use Policy, or try to explain why they think that they know better.
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